The Road to Kalgoorlie

How do you get to Kalgoorlie? With one Holden Commodore, five people, and four CDs per person. This is a serious road road trip. We are snack-stocked and camera ready – or at least I am. I’m on the lookout for my first road train and my first sight of the Outback.  My companions, Robyn and her friends – two men and three women in all. We head for the hills, quite literally, and I get my first taste of Australian rock music…this is going to be a very educational experience. 50 kilometres and counting….

Near Northam, we pass vast fields of wheat and canola. I’m impressed – there’s nary a tree in sight. We also pass signs saying “Ribbons of Green”. Too much clearing away of bushland vegetation has made the soil too salty, says Robyn. So trees have been planted to restore the natural balance. What fascinates me most though is the pipeline I’ve noticed along the highway. It’s the CY O’Connor pipeline that carries water from Perth to Kalgoorlie – so we may be leaving the city, but we’re not leaving the water behind. O’Connor tragically committed suicide before he could see his pipeline work. Today it’s a piece of Goldfields heritage. How do you get to Kalgoorlie? Just follow the pipeline. 100 kilometres.

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We stop at Cunderdin for lunch. It seems to be a one-street town, and apparently all shops close at noon on Saturday. However, the bakery is still open. The cook seems to be a genuine bikey…he takes pride in his chicken schnitzel and pops out of the kitchen to ask if we’d like a dash of lemon on our burgers. The best thing to see in Cunderdin? The Tiger Moth standing along the highway. 200 kilometres.

I try to snap pictures of the huge silos we’re passing. Not very easy as we’re touching the speed limit of about a 100km/hr. I do capture one of the “road train” signs hanging on the backs of the trailer trucks we pass – only, my photo reads “oad train”. I manage to get a shot of the Road Train traffic signs along the road. The fields have given way to bushland. Can I call this the Outback, I ask Robyn hopefully. Not yet. 300 kilometres

The road to Kalgoorlie is very straight and very long. We pass Southern Cross – the town, not the constellation.  I’m starting to wonder if all of Australia looks like this. 400 kilometres.

The last town we cross is Coolgardie – cool historical buildings and quirky statues. Coolness probably has nothing to do with its name. 500 kilometres.

We’re nearly at Kalgoorlie now, and someone suggests we end our journey at the Super Pit. We all vote that this is a good idea. This is my first mine – and my first gold mine. The trucks look toy-tiny and the pit is like an inside-out terraced hill. You can hear the rumbling of machinery. We decide to mark this moment by taking a picture in one of the giant scoops near the lookout point. Scoop shot. Pit stop. 600 kilometres.

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